So how do you choose the perfect wedding venue? This is one of the first things you and your fiancé will consider post-engagement but alas, the variety of wedding venue options are infinite and there are many factors involved other than the unassuming task of simply liking a space or not..
The location of your wedding is a good place to start. You hopefully have an idea about where you would like to get married – whether it be a lavish London hotel, a stately countryside manor, an intimate chateau in France or an elaborate Indian palace. One question to consider is; do you wed in a church or have a civil ceremony? Most venues have licenced rooms to hold ceremonies in, however, many couples have their wedding receptions marquees at their own homes – in this case, you will need to consider finding a nearby church or a licenced town hall to hold the ceremony, ideally within walking distance of the reception. Marrying abroad can be a truly magical experience although takes a lot of planning; flights, airport transfers, accommodation, time away and expenses are just a handful of elements to consider (but totally worth it)!
The logistics. With all the excitement that comes with the early stages of wedding planning, it’s very easy for couples to see a venue, love it and sign a contract. In the reality of your dreamy thoughts, you need to consider how many guests you would like to invite. There are venues that can hold from as few as 30 guests and venues that can hold over 500 guests so this is an important component to acknowledge when selecting a venue. For countryside weddings, weddings abroad or if you are inviting guests from around the world, accommodation is key. Will all guests to stay in the same hotel? Will you organise transport from the wedding celebrations to accommodation if your guests are travelling from afar? You will need to book well in advance to ensure you get the amount of rooms you require at a hotel if you are not hiring it exclusively.
From caterers and drinks to lighting and sound, the suppliers on your wedding day are the finer details that you need to consider whilst picking your venue. Some venues have ‘preferred suppliers’ so you will be required to use them instead of choosing your own – they may have a set menu, they may have corkage costs. Other venues are more flexible and will allow you to bring in all your own suppliers so if you’ve dreamt of always using a specific caterer because you’ve longed for their menu since you were old enough to read it then this is a possibility and allows room for foodie creativity. Of course, having a marquee will let you be in total control – a god send, especially if you have a wedding planner to do the admin but you will need to do more dressing than in an existing space to make it pretty. The choice is yours…
Hiring a venue comes with rules and one significant question that you might forget to ask is what their licence is so you know your curfew time. In most venues this ranges from midnight until 2am so choosing a venue can also depend on how hard you want to party on your wedding day. At some venues you can apply for an extension to later so always worth checking. If you’ve decided on your wedding date and it’s set in stone, check check check their availability before you set your heart on a venue. If you’re flexible about the day of week, month or season then you’ll have a much wider choice.
Deciding the ‘look’ of your wedding is exciting! Super slick and modern? Classically traditional? Vintage tea party? Summer festival? Extravagantly elegant? From themes to colours, patterns and textures, let your imagination run wild.. Your dreamy designs can influence your venue choice and although we’re not saying it’s wrong to have a summer festival themed wedding in Claridge’s or a winter wonderland at Cap Estel en France, it is important to acknowledge that the rooms at these will help influence the mood of your wedding in general. This is a good example of when you would take the advice of your wedding planner…
…and then the fun part! Create a shortlist of your top 10 venues, visit them, walk each space like it’s your special day. Locate the ceremony, drinks and wedding breakfast spaces, imagine the dancefloor, what bands/DJ’s you see playing and paint your perfect picture. Ultimately, the final decision rests on what we call ‘the feeling’ – the immediate knowing that the venue is ‘the one’ – and you’ve essentially done the easy part, now you just have to plan the rest of your wedding.
Visit Quintessentially Weddings for lots more information on planning the perfect wedding and finding your perfect venue.